U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether Ukrainian officials interfered in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, The New York Times reported on May 27.
The criminal investigation includes examining whether Ukrainian officials used Rudolph Giuliani, personal lawyer to then-President Donald Trump, to spread misleading claims about President Joe Biden during the campaign, The New York Times reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The inquiry, which began during the final months of the Trump administration, is separate from an ongoing criminal investigation into Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine.
Prosecutors are probing whether Ukrainian officials tried to influence the election by spreading claims of corruption about Biden through a number of channels, including Giuliani, the newspaper reported.
Giuliani, who has not been accused of wrongdoing in this investigation, has previously denied representing any Ukrainians.
One of the officials being investigated is Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach, the newspaper reported.
The U.S. Treasury Department in September sanctioned Derkach for interfering in the U.S. election, accusing him of being a Russian agent.
Derkach published what he claimed was comprising information on Biden and his son, Hunter, in the months leading up to the November election in an attempt to help Trump’s chances to stay in office.
The Treasury Department in January also sanctioned seven individuals and four entities it claimed were associated with Derkach’s influence operation.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Giuliani, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to Reuters.
Giuliani's business dealings with Ukrainian oligarchs while he was working as Trump's lawyer are the subject of a separate probe by federal prosecutors in New York City. The former mayor of the city has previously called that investigation “pure political persecution.”